I have been conducting meditation classes in the community and in Worksite Medical Service settings since 2010 after participating and completing a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) leadership preparation training-retreat with Jon Kabat Zinn Ph.D. and Saki Santorelli Ed D. (Institute Advanced Human Behavior/Omega).
The MBSR 8-week classes and weekly sittings in the Northern New Jersey community (Leonia Library, Community Center, and private residence) were conducted from 2010-2016 and recieved well as noted in post-class surveys and reviews. Participants were guided in various practices of meditation and mindfulness, as well as educated to the overall health benefits of MBSR.
The Mindfulness Meditation classes at 1199 Worksite Medical Services have been facilitated throughout the month in person and online since 2014, with successful outcomes in establishing practice habits and benefit education as noted in surveys and verbal feedback.
Practicing Zen meditation over 25 years
I wanted to let you know that the weekly meditation classes you conduct, for the Fund staff, have been greatly appreciated by the participants, as reflected by the surveys.
Not only have staff learned how to do meditation and better understand the benefits of it on the body and mind, but some have also started to meditate on their own and are exploring options outside their workplace.
Here is a quote from one such survey:
” This class has been very helpful in not allowing stress to control my life and to appreciate the simple things in life”.
Celia Shmukler, MD
Wellness and Member Assistance Programs
1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
Bill has helped me understand that meditation is a way to unplug and refocus. I have tapped into feelings of peacefulness and joy and learned that no matter what I am struggling with: it is better to not try so hard to control it and remember that difficult moments pass.
Mother of small kids
Establishing a schedule of daily meditation practice helps me to clear my thoughts and think objectively when I’m under stress. In Bill’s class I learned a series of gentle, practical methods - focusing on breath, walking and yoga as anchors to achieve this.
Bill has helped me be more reflective in the present moment and more patient overall. His class has helped me to not overreact in difficult situations. Being in the moment adds to your life.
Professor of Nursing
The easiest and simplest way to change your life.
Bill is a gifted teacher
His experience informs his insightful understanding of the problems we all face. I have found his guidance to be uniquely helpful and comforting.
He has been a great companion on this journey!
"Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We feel more alive and also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing” -Jon Kabat-Zinn PHD
Discussion What has brought you here? What is your intention? What do you want from the course?
BREAK (10 minutes): people can leave if they are not interested in the course.
*experience with mind/body sensation
*Establish the universality of wandering mind
*Working with monkey mind with mindfulness
*Staying with….coming back to the object of meditation
*Do not suppress/repress thoughts and/or emotions
**We cannot control our thoughts
**We can only let them go
Assignment: body scan 6x days, AOB 10-15 minutes 6x days
Mindfulness: brushing teeth, coffee, taking shower,
Theme: Pleasure and power in being present. Attending to and investigating the way things are in the body and mind. Yoga is mindfulness practice.
Notice the tendency of the mind to label pleasant and unpleasant. We push away the unpleasant and grasp for the pleasant. Discuss the role of conditioning as we question our self-narratives and fixed ideas and opinions about reality.
Discuss the recognition that we experience pleasure during unpleasant events and unpleasantness during pleasant events. Discuss the ordinariness of pleasant events in one’s life and address the mind/body connection inherent in the experience
*experience being present versus lost in the mind
Assignment: Body Scan alternate with body practice daily, AOB Daily 10-15 minutes
Handout: Stress educational materials
Inquire into the experience of working with physical sensations, mind and emotions with daily sitting and body practice. Explore the relationship between body practice and body scan.
Discuss pleasant and unpleasant events. Conditioning and perception shape our experience.
Mindfulness helps us to cultivate curiosity and openness to the full range of our experience and our attentional capacity becomes more flexible. We learn new ways to relate to stressful moments and events whether internal or external. Mindfulness helps us reduce the negative effects of stress reactivity as well as the development of more effective ways of responding positively and pro-actively to stressful situations and experiences.
The physiological and psychological bases of stress reactivity are reviewed and discussed with the awareness of how mindfulness is used as a way to work with reducing and recovering more quickly from stressful situations and experiences. Daily practice aimed at recognizing and experientially inquiring into reactivity.
Assignment: Body scan alternate with body practice, AOB practice 20 minutes daily (breath, physical sensations, whole body)
Be aware of stress reactions & behaviors during the week, without
trying to change anything
Be aware of being stuck, blocking, numbing, shutting off to the moment
Program half over. How is it going? Am I learning? Am I growing? Am I changing? Am I fulfilling my commitment? Could I be doing better? Can I recommit for this second half (new beginning)? Growth is non-linear. Let go of expectations based on first-half experience. Just practice and take each moment as a new beginning.
Theme: Reacting versus responding to stress. What is the role of emotional reactivity in health and illness? Learning to honor one’s feelings and, express them effectively to achieve one's purposes.
Discuss the importance of being mindful of our purposes, without avoiding or suppressing feelings.
Cultivating the witness, acknowledging the nonjudgemental registering of all objects and experiences.
AOB practice, alternate with body scan practice or body practice, daily.
Bring awareness to moments of reacting and explore options for responding with greater mindfulness and creativity.
Use a journal to be helpful and use the breath to slow down.
Difficult communications calender
Reactive versus and responsive/assertive behavior
Theme: stressful communications and situations.
Knowing your feelings and, expressing them accurately.
Developing greater awareness of interpersonal communication patterns, interpersonal mindfulness.
Staying aware and balanced in relationships especially under stress.
Difficult communications exercise.
***Upcoming all day retreat: wear warm comfortable clothes. Bring lunch, yoga mat and pillow for body scan
Alternate Sitting Practice with Body scan and/or Body practice
How does it feel to be here? What do you notice different? What likes and dislikes come up in your mind? Am I attached to place? Being aware of choices? Why? Am I at home everywhere?
Theme: Integrating mindfulness practice more fully and personally into your daily life. What lifestyle choices do you make that are adaptive and self-nourishing as well as those that are maladaptive and self-limiting?
Discuss upcoming all day retreat
Wear loose fitting and warm clothes. Pack lunch. The day will be done in silence with minimal eye contact, accept in discussion circle.
Assignments: create your own blend of practice 45 minutes daily. No guided tapes. Consider your lifestyle choices and choices you make which generate stress, which generate not being mindful. What do you do to sabotage your own well-being?
What have been the class highlights and difficulties? The course is ending what about the future?
Theme: How to continue the practice established over these last 8 weeks? Highlight formal and informal practices.
MAKE THE PRACTICE YOUR OWN!
Formally end class
***Give out post class support materials and future classes
The Mindfulness Meditation classes and guided meditations offer a practice of psycho-physical well-being. Neither the work of William Miller LCSW, or any collaborating teacher colleagues here, constitute psychological or medical advice. Engaging in the Mindfulness Meditation classes and/or these guided meditation practices is voluntary on the part of both participant and William Miller LCSW or any collaborating teacher.
Participants are encouraged to discontinue their involvement with these Mindfulness Meditation classes and guided meditations at any time if they do not feel that they are benefiting. Conversely, William Miller LCSW and any collaborating teachers reserve the right to refuse individual work or access to these resources for anyone they do not deem suitable. If you believe that you may be suffering from a medical or psychological condition, please consult your primary care physician or other appropriately qualified professional.
The Mindfulness Meditation classes and guided meditations provided by William Miller LCSW or any collaborating teacher are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any physiological or psychological problem or disease. Do not disregard any medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy because of your engagement in the Mindfulness Meditation classes or these guided meditations offered here. They are not offered to achieve therapeutic ends.
It is strongly recommended that those who are struggling with clinically diagnosed (or suspected but undiagnosed) psychological or emotional issues, diseases, or syndromes refrain from engaging in these classes and guided meditations unless they are also actively working with a qualified, licensed medical professional.